Perhaps it's a sign of our economically-challenging times?

According to data from the Obama Inauguration Committee website, seven corporations are ponying up money to help pay for the numerous balls, parties and other events celebrating the start of Obama's second term.

He will be sworn in Jan. 20 at a private event at the White House because it falls on a Sunday. By law, his term begins on that day. Obama plans to publicly mark the event Jan. 21 (the next Monday).

While Obama did not allow companies to donate to his 2009 celebration, this time around donations were accepted. The list of companies includes AT&T and Microsoft, which was the biggest corporate donor to the Obama campaign in November. It is interesting to note some of the other firms making contributions. According to Newsmax:

Genentech is a biotechnology company owned by Swiss drug maker Roche, while Stream Line Circle is owned by billionaire Obama backer and gay-rights activist Jon Stryker, and Centene is a Medicaid administration company that is profiting highly through Obamacare, reports the Washington Post.

Financial Innovations, meanwhile, earned $1.8 million in business through making promotional products used in Obama’s 2012 campaign, the Post reports.

Newsmax also reports about private donors:

The Inauguration Committee hasn’t said how much each donor has given toward the inauguration ceremonies, but each person on the list has donated at least $200. However, while donations were capped off at $50,000 in 2009, this year’s committee is encouraging individual gifts of up to $250,000.

Planners of the inauguration say it will be scaled down from the event four years ago that cost $53 million. Instead of 10 balls, there will be only two.  From Fox News:

Planners say the austerity in festivities is a reflection of tough economic times and an effort to minimize the burden on law enforcement, other security personnel and Washington residents.

A reflection of tough economic times? If it truly were, then Obama would dispense with the celebrations outright. Considering he is just coming off a multi-million dollar Hawaii holiday, and the number of struggling Americans out of work, staging such lavish, expensive events are only bound to create resentment.